Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Callahan.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’ve always had a passion for history and the people, places, and things from times past.
On family trips when I was young, I was fascinated by the historical homes and their contents. Everything from the architecture to its forks and knives. Once, while visiting the Mount Vernon home of George Washington, I was taken back because what I was looking at were rooms that were “staged” with pieces that “would” have been in the home.
They were not the actual pieces, just recreations. I was disappointed as I wanted to see the real things, the real bowls, and plates, the teal chairs, and tables, the real carpets and drapes. I didn’t want the fake stuff I wanted the authentic. Well, I was told that was impossible because items from that time would not be in the condition for people to have an interest in seeing and would be tattered and broken and old. Perfect!
That’s what I wanted to see. The real, the authentic, and the old. Anyway, that birthed my passion and appreciation for vintage and antique pieces, and five years ago my collection of pieces from old farms, homesteads, factories, old homes, and estates grew to the capacity to fill what is now Two Chicks Vintage Marketplace. However, I did not want my shop to be one of those expensive antique shops where it feels more like a museum than a store.
So, Two Chicks Vintage Marketplace was born. 10,000 square feet on two floors of everything vintage, antique, farmhouse, rust, dust, and full of stories to tell. We are not an antique mall by any means. Our vendors and inventory are curated and there’s always something for everyone. All price ranges, styles, needs, and wants.
Being housed in a 200-year-old building on the National Registry of Historic places gives the shop its perfect landscape to fulfill my desire to keep everything real and authentic. We are k own for having unusual, hard-to-find, unique, and interesting pieces that work for the average homeowner l needing to decorate or accessorize to the avid collector looking for that grail piece.
It’s truly a remarkable place that leaves most customers not only speechless but in admiration of how our inventory is staged and displayed. The shop changes every day with new inventory daily and every six weeks the shop resets its look and feel to showcase a different trend, season, or style.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Easy, NO! First-year in business we found a solid footing but then 6 months later we were closed because of COVID.
We improvised and did a lot online to keep the shop functioning and our customers engaged. Once open again after COVID in our 2nd year, as we emerged from COVID, we saw social unrest and dealt with a bit of demonstration, marches, and protests on Main Street, right outside our doors.
Again, we adapted and kept going. Now in our third year, we are facing an uncertain economy, rising prices, and families working hard to provide what came easy to them just a few years ago. It’s been tough, but we are the relief from all that consumes people. We are their happy place that gives the issues of today a break.
They come in, take a walk down their own memory lane as they get to peruse things they remember from their youth, or a dynamic 1800s Farm table, a beautiful milk glass bowl, a 1950s drinkware set, whatever and it brings them joy.
Walking out with their new purchase in hand makes what we do matter.
However, I cannot just open a catalog and order inventory. I have to actively search out and cultivate the inventory. 90% of everything in the shop comes from private estates, homesteads, buildings, farms, and other sources. No garage sales, estate sales, or thrift stores, so that’s the most challenging part.
We go through a ton of inventory every month as things sell quickly, that’s the good part. The bad part is that there is a constant need to replenish the shop with new inventory all the time.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Having been named in 2020 and 2021 as the Best Antique Store in the Region by St. Louis Magazine, we are known as the place to go for those authentic, trending, unique and affordable pieces. There’s always something for everyone.
We are one of the only shops specializing in vintage signage and locally sourced, reclaimed Barnwood, hardwood slabs, and logs in a variety of different species. I am most proud of the amazing team that helps me run the shop every day. That’s where the name Two Chicks come from.
There are always Two Chicks in the shop every day. It’s not just me who makes the engine run. It takes an army of chicks who love the shop and our customers as much as I do.
They dedicated endless hours every day making sure our customers feel like family, cleaning, organizing so the shop looks its best, and managing thousands and thousands of pieces of inventory. I could not do it without them.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Small independent shop owners do what they do because they have a true passion. They get up and sacrifice every day because they want to succeed and share their passion with the community. It’s their blood, sweat, tears, and finances that they spill out each and every day.
It’s their name or face or their reputation they put on the line to afford the best products or services they can. We employ the dedication of so many, just to turn the light on every day. What we do matters to us and we hope it matters to our community so that when you have a choice, you’ll make the effort, find the time, and spend a few dollars at your local small business.
Because at the end of the day, when we shut the lights and lock the door we will be right back at it tomorrow, hoping that we’ve given you a really good reason to visit us again, follow us on our social media pages and talk about us to your friends so and family.
- Affordable Pricing from $1 item to $1000 pieces.
- Unique, hard to find, and one-of-a-kind inventory.
- Boutique clothing and accessories from local vendors.
- Farmhouse finds Picker’s best picks, primitives, antiques, home, and garden decor, and much more.
- Industrial salvage.
- Website: twochicksvintagemarketplace.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TwoChicksVintageMarketplace/
- Yelp: https://yelp.to/HxGR06wFfrb
- Other: https://g.co/kgs/15Bach